Confessions Of An X-Medical Resident

Medicine is without a doubt one of the top most humanitarian and highly paying jobs that are out there. Doctors are experts of health and an integral part of the community and society. They are also high social status members of the community and are considered to be people whose opinions are worth money if not gold.

Having been brought up in a medical background, I was convinced that medicine is my natural path in life. My medical training began in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia which due to the multiple issues of women’s and humans rights I will leave out of this talk. But, let’s just say it took a lot of dedication and thick skin to get through medical school there.

I was eventually granted a scholarship in the field of Anaesthesiology and came to Halifax, Canada, for my specialty training. Let me step back here and mention a fact I have found to be true no matter where you go in this world to practice medicine.

– Medicine was, is and will continue to be an old boys club; the degrees of severity may vary depending on the specialties chosen. I remember being told that women who want to have babies and families should not become doctors and should be librarians…this is in Canada!

– Medical residency training is in many ways comparable to military training as it is structured to

challenge the physical body, mental mind and emotional status over a course that may be as short as 2 years or as long as 7 years.

– Residents are the lowest of the lowest in the medical profession ladder; they are over worked, underpaid and ground to the bone. I remember working all night placing epidurals in labouring women as my staff anesthetist slept in the duty room as I fill out his billing forms for him to collect before he went home in the morning as I staid to finish up work.

– As residents (specialist in training) we are expected to endure abuse in many strange forms and not many of us are able or willing to speak out without being kicked out of the program we are in or at least suffering extensive repercussions. To say we have no rights is an understatement.

Having said all that I should also state that generalization is dangerous and there are exceptions I am sure. Remember I am an X resident, meaning I have discontinued my residency training. Since I have done that I have filed a report to the humans right commission about the racial discrimination, sexual , physical and verbal assault, lack of support and mental and emotional abuse I have been witness and subject to in my residency training.

Not many people understand what it really means to take the challenge of trying to become a specialist. In my experience, unless you are a cold hearted and extremely rigid and tough personality the residency training will most definitely be a short and traumatizing road.

People wonder why the most developed nations are approaching a crisis in the medical profession due to lack and shortage of physicians. As a result the workload doubles and in some cases triples on the existing ones.

An example that shocked me was increasing the pay of doctors who are willing to work after a full day of call (24 hr shift). Meaning encouraging doctors who have worked a full 24 hrs straight with little or no sleep to manage and care for sick people and their lives the next day. When a resident gets tired after a full 24 hr shift and starts to display signs of poor concentration or judgement they are not sent home, which the rules are against, instead they are humiliated and made to feel incompetent and given poor evaluations, and this is normal, common practice.

Another shocker was the overall female to female hostility that would range from passive aggressive behaviours from the superior female (usually a specialist, senior or nurse) towards the more junior female to cases of frank assault that are brushed under the carpet of residency training. In My case I had failed an entire rotation after being verbally attacked by one of the much older and erratic female operating room nurses in the middle of an emergency situation, I was labelled “Inappropriate for leadership roles” by the same well respected Anesthetist (mentor) who was witness to the entire incident.

As residents we are not expected to have a life outside of the hospital, we breathe, eat, sleep and entirely drown ourselves with hospital work and if your wife is having a baby or your son is sick….well then tough luck. And on top of that, you are not permitted to get sick either, but if you do …well then you are nothing but a non- dedicated slacker.

Hospitals are also known to be some of the most sexually charged and frustrated environments any one can be in. A typical O.R day in my experience includes sexual remarks or jokes flying back and forth as the surgery commences which I found embarrassing and shameful to be in.
My overall personal experience to achieve my honourable goal of helping people has left me jaded and questioning the entire medical profession. Why is this being tolerated and why are those who try to explain the defects viewed as abnormal and not team players?

I wish I could say that having made a decision to leave medicine upsets me but I cannot. I am very happy to have disengaged myself from the scandal that is called residency training which ultimately produces defective and damaged physicians who would only repeat history.

As I end this I would like to stress on the fact that I am not launching an attack on the medical world and I am not generalizing by any means. I am only stating the facts that I and many others know to be true but few develop the courage to talk about.

Medical specialty training as is will fail and will continue to produce marginally moral and humane doctors until radical changes take place. Until the powers to be start facing difficult facts and correcting the old boy’s ways of thinking there will always be someone like me who just could not take it anymore speaking.

In the end I do wish every medical student and resident luck. May you succeed in what I have failed at, and may you bring the winds of change to life.

Those of you who would like to know what I did for work since I stopped my medical specialty training, I Have started my personal health and wellness home based business and am blissfully happy .

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